Mice, don’t underestimate the difficulty in controlling these pests.

September 18, 2013

Mice are often seen as an aggravation.  Mice are rarely thought of for their destructive nature.  People must often be reminded that it was mice, infested with fleas, which caused the Black Plaque that decimated Europe’s population.  Even today, with all of the modern exterminating practices, rodents destroy 25% of the World’s grain supply annually.  Currently, 8 million people starve to death every year – one person every three 3and a half seconds – imagine the impact if rodent contamination could be eliminated. 


Mice can be quite difficult to control.  If often seems that by the time any evidence is noticed, there is an infestation within the home.  Unfortunately, when most people first notice any evidence of mice, they incorrectly assume they have “a mouse”.  This is usually not the case. The odds are that the home has several mice and placing “a trap” or “a glue board” or “a box of bait” will not be effective in controlling “the infestation”. 


Understanding basic mouse biology and behavior can help in controlling these pests.


Mice are outside animals that come indoors for food and shelter.  They can enter a home through a hole the size of a dime.  So exclusion work is important but can be difficult.  Check your home’s exterior and seal any cracks and such with the proper products.  Once the mouse is inside they usually set up a nest rather quickly.  They eat many types of foods and are not hesitant to try new foods.  They need very little free water and can survive mostly on the water contained in their food sources.  Mice are primarily nocturnal and will generally only travel 10 – 30 feet from their nesting area.  They have very poor eyesight and are color blind.  They have an extremely keen sense of smell and taste.  Mice urinate and defecate so often that the term bladder control barely applies.  One house mouse produces 36,000 droppings per year.  These droppings and urine stains (as well as vaginal smears) are what enables a mouse to navigate in a home so well.  Unfortunately it is also why they can contaminate so much so quickly. 


Mice are also very efficient procreators.  Males quickly detect a sexually mature female, they mate and 5-6 young are born in 19 -21 days.  These young are weaned in three weeks and sexually mature in 6 – 10 weeks.  It is important to note that the mother often mates and conceives again while she is still nursing the newborns.  Mice breed year round with females regularly having 5 to 10 liters per year.     


With the above information in mind, mice control can be attained through a multistep process.  First inspect the area and dispose of all food stuffs and items that have been in contact with mice.  For items that cannot be thrown away, wash them thoroughly with a product containing ammonia (to cut the urine and other smells).  Scrub the flooring, shelving, baseboards etc. all around the nesting areas for a distance of at least 30 feet.   Next, use a variety of control measures.  Make sure your hands are clean.  Mice don’t mind human smells – they are living in your home.  But mice are repelled from strong cleaners, insecticides, tobacco, varnishes etc.  Remember mice sample many different foods, apply several different mice baits, place different foods in many traps.  Place two or three traps together to help prevent them from escaping.  Put several glueboards along the baseboards.  When this is done, you simply wait.  When the mice re-enter the area there will be no usual food, no usual smells and most probably – several of the household items that were kept will be in a different location after the cleaning process.  The mice will be disoriented; however, they are curious by nature and thus will begin to explore.  They will sample the baits, or stumble into a glueboard or activate a trap.  After a few days of this, you should have decent results and eventual control. 


This may not be entirely effective.  If you have a large infestation that is housed in the attic or crawl space, or many mice entering from a field, then exterior treatments may need to be performed and it is best to hire Horne’s Pest Control.

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